Tourists heading to Sanur Beach in Bali are being warned about the season’s influx of bluebottle jellyfish. The poisonous jellyfish emerge in the waters off the southern coast of Bali on an annual basis.
The beach is still safe to visit, but tourists are being urged to be vigilant.
The Department of Fisheries and Food Security in Bali has issued a public appeal to anyone planning on visiting Sanur Beach.
There has been an influx of the poisonous bluebottle jellyfish over the last week and officials believe the marine life will be around for a while to come.
The Head of Denpasar City Fisheries and Food Security, Ida Baguds Mayun Suryawangsa, told reporters that the jellyfish have previously been seen in the waters off Sanur Beach between July and September.
He said, “this is a natural phenomenon because the strong wind brought this type of jellyfish to the beach.”
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Suryawangsa and his teams are working with local fishing crews, coast guards, and beach management teams to monitor the presence of the jellyfish in the shallow waters where tourists swim and keep an eye if any are washed up on the shore.
Suryawangsa added, “We urge visitors to Sanur Beach to be more alert, avoid direct contact. If fishermen still find them, they can help clean the waters of Sanur Beach.”
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The bluebottle jellyfish is commonly known in Australia as the Pacific (or Portuguese) man-o-war jellyfish. The creature has quite the reputation as being one of the most painful jellyfish stings in the world.
The stings are often intense and long-lasting. For anyone unfortunate enough to be stung by a bluebottle jellyfish there are a series of first aid steps to follow to help reduce pain and even risk of allergic reaction.
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According to Australian Wide First Aid, the first step in treating a bluebottle jellyfish sting is to ‘monitor the causality’ and offer comfort and reassurance.
The next step is to pick off any tentacles left on the skin, then remove any of the ‘invisible’ poisonous tentacles with salt water, such as ocean water.
Once the affected area is clear of any stinging tentacles, the area would be immersed in hot water or covered with hot running water for 20 minutes, more if possible.
The hot water helps kill the proteins in the venom that cause the painful stinging sensations.
If hot water is not available, then a dry ice pack can be used to offer pain relief until hot water can be accessed to help kill the venom.
The pain usually subsides within an hour if treatment is given quickly, though a red line usually remains where the tentacles have touched the skin.
In some cases, the contact site can become swollen and itchy and, in some instances, can even blister.
Urgent medical treatment must be sought in the event of an allergic reaction or if a young child or elderly person is stung.
There are several medical clinics in the Sanur area, and the new Bali International Hospital will be opening in early 2024.
Most resorts in the Sanur area have on-call doctors, nurses, and medical professionals to support their guests. The BIMC Hospital is a 33-minute drive from Sanur Beach.
So what should tourists look out for in the water? What does a bluebottle jellyfish look like?
The body of the jellyfish, known as the float, is shaped like a bottle or pear. They can be up to 15cm in size, though some are as small as 2cm in diameter, and are a light blue color.
The smaller ones can be tricky to see in the water, especially on days when the water is not so clear.
At the moment the warning is only issued for Sanur Beach and though the bluebottle jellyfish could be blown into shore anywhere from Sanur Beach through to the east.
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